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For Immediate Release

Reopening Easterseals South Florida

August 24, 2020

Media Contact:
Roxanne Vogel

Reopening Easterseals South Florida (ESSF)

Guidance for Fall Hybrid Classrooms & Programs

After many months of serving and supporting our children, seniors and families through remote supports and in-home services, we are pleased to be welcoming children back to our centers in August with a hybrid in-person and online learning model.  Our seniors will continue to receive services remotely.  The number one priority remains the health and well-being of all our ESSF Community. Comprehensive protocols for the safer reopening of our childcare centers and classrooms were developed, implemented, and continue to be modified as necessary to follow guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Florida Department of Health and Mayor of Miami-Dade County Carlos Gimenez’s published guidelines.

As we welcome our children and program staff back to our centers, we know the situation in South Florida will remain fluid.  At the core of our mission is to provide exceptional services, education, and outreach so that people living with disabilities can live, learn, work and play.  To that end, ESSF will continue to work hard to ensure our services remain accessible to our participants whether in-person or remotely.  We are confident our unwavering vigilance to the health and safety of our community can be compassionately combined with our participant-centered approach to teaching, learning and playing for all those we serve. 

Serving our children

We continue to adapt to a fluid situation and take precautions to ensure our children have a safer and healthy learning environment.  

We will:
•    Limit class sizes            
•    Restrict access to centers (only essential staff and children)
•    Prohibit backpacks, families and/or visitors into center
•    Stagger arrival and dismissal times
•    Conduct daily health screenings
•    Robust handwashing, cleaning and disinfecting

·         Wear Personal Protective Equipment

·         Revise classroom layout to maximize social distancing

·         Eliminate group activities or combining of students and classes

·         Schedule and plan activities to maximize social distancing, increase time spent on outdoor activities and provide children their own high touch materials (crayons, pencils, scissors) to prevent person to person spread.

Serving our seniors

As we continue to monitor the situation in South Florida, it is simply not safe for our seniors to return to our centers yet.  Therefore, we will continue to reimagine the way we provide services and take every precaution to ensure our seniors remain safer.  

We will:
•    Provide virtual support and programming            
•    Restrict respite home visits
•    Conduct daily health screenings
•    Robust handwashing, cleaning and disinfecting

·         Plan and schedule delivery of activities kits and essential products

Doing your part

Throughout the coming months, we all need to take daily actions to protect ourselves, each other, and our surrounding community and reduce the spread of COVID-19.  In the best interest of protecting the health of our ESSF community in the fall, we strongly recommend the following:

·         Minimize contact with people outside of your QuaranTEAM (those who you live with) 14-days prior to the start of the term and until the situation improves in South Florida.

·         Get tested for COVID-19 to ensure you are not an asymptomatic spreader

·         Maintain a healthy social distance from others

·         Frequently wash hands with soap and water for more than 20 seconds.

·         Wear a face covering

·         Conduct daily health screenings

·         Attend orientation to learn about ESSF classroom and center health and safety protocols

The safety of our staff and those we serve is our top priority.  ESSF is committed to serving children and families in need.  We will continue to follow guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and the Florida Department of Health as it relates to safety, guidelines and recommendations.

For more information about ESSF fall classroom and center protocols please contact the following staff members:

Taimy Hernandez (thernandez@sfl.easterseals.com) for children enrolled in Head Start Centers.

Ingrid Garcia (igarcia@sfl.easterseals.com) for children enrolled in the Miami Gardens Child Development Center.

Ana Guerrero (
aguerrero@sfl.easterseals.com) for children enrolled at the Civic Center.

We will continue to share updates and information on programs and services.   Additionally, we will work alongside community leaders to find solutions to the challenges our staff and families continue to navigate during these unprecedented times.  Thank you for taking responsibility to keep yourself and the ESSF community safer.

Loreen Chant

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